In sub-Saharan Africa, many young women and adolescent girls are at high risk of HIV infection. In a new research paper published in the open access journal PLOS Medicine, Kenneth Mugwanya and co-authors report on a study aiming to investigate the feasibility of providing antiretroviral drugs via family planning clinics to prevent HIV infection in young women.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a method for preventing HIV infection that involves providing antiretroviral drugs in pill form, and this approach has been successfully used in men who have sex with men. In Africa and elsewhere, preventing new HIV infections in other high-risk population groups, including women and girls, is a priority, and PrEP is one promising method that is undergoing evaluation.
In Mugwanya and colleagues' study, 1271 women (approximately half <24 years old) attending 8 family clinics in Kisumu, Kenya were screened and counseled about behavioural risks of HIV infection, with most women being married and reporting recent condomless sex. PrEP was initiated by 278 (22%) women, and this group included 94% of the women whose partners were known to be HIV positive. Of the 278 women initiating PrEP, 114 (41%) returned for at least one refill of PrEP drugs--continuation was 41% at 1 month, 24% at 3 months, and 15% at 6 months, the decline possibly being a sign of reflection on changes in women'stheir HIV risk or preferences about prevention methods. For the duration of the project, no HIV infections were observed in women returning for at least one visit after initiating PrEP.
The study indicates that integration of screening for HIV risk and preventive treatment among young women in a family planning clinic setting is feasible, despite the drop-off in participants continuing PrEP. The authors note that "this work will set the stage for ... full scale PrEP delivery in family planning clinics not only in Kenya but in other settings in Africa."
The PrEP Implementation for Young Women and Adolescents (PrIYA) Program was funded by the United States Department of State as part of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge (Grant Number 37188-1088 MOD01 awarded to GJS and JMB), managed by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. The PrIYA Team was supported by the University of Washington's Center for AIDS Research (P30 AI027757). Part of KKM's time was supported by NIH/K99MH118134. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The opinions, findings, and conclusions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State or JSI.
I have read the journal's policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: GJS received grants from NIH, CDC, Thrasher Foundation, and funding from UW, UpToDate, and IMPAACT; JMB is on advisory boards for Gilead Sciences, Merck, and Janssen. The authors have declared that no other competing interests exist.
Mugwanya KK, Pintye J, Kinuthia J, Abuna F, Lagat H, Begnel ER, et al. (2019) Integrating preexposure prophylaxis delivery in routine family planning clinics: A feasibility programmatic evaluation in Kenya. PLoS Med 16(9): e1002885. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002885
Image Credit: USAFRICOM
Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
University of Washington-Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America
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